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Spring Break Visit

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posts: 17
Spring Break Visit

In a few weeks, my family and I (wife, 12 year old son and 8 year old daughter) will be traveling to Manchester for the Manchester United v. Blackburn match. It’s part of our whirlwind spring break tour of the UK. My daughter and I are especially thrilled about the match. I’m not sure whether it’s her love of the game or her love of Cristiano Ronaldo that has her so excited. In any event, we are staying at the Old Trafford Lodge, but hope to make it to the City Centre during our visit. If we do venture into town Saturday before the game, what time should we plan on taking the tram back towards Old Trafford in order to avoid the biggest crowds heading to the game? Also, any tips you could provide on what to do to get the most out of this experience would be most appreciated.

Manchester, UK
posts: 1,667
reviews: 10
1. Re: Spring Break Visit

Should be a good game. Blackburn are going for European qualification and we're going the league. And, Mark Hughes always gets a good reception when he returns.

From where you're staying it's very easy to get to and from either Manchester or the football stadium. The stadium is a five minute walk (at most) and if you want to visit the Megastore it might be best to go up there well before the match as it gets ridiculously packed just before kick-off.

To get into Manchester, you have the tram stop just around the corner from the cricket ground where your hotel is. The tram takes about five to ten minutes (and about £2.20 return) to the city centre. St Peter's Square is probably your best bet.

Getting to Old Trafford for a 3.00 kick-off. The trams will be packed from about 12.00 onwards. They're so busy it can get pretty uncomfortable, but you will get on. You can either get the Altrincham tram to Old Trafford (cricket) or the Eccles one to Exchange Quay. The tram operator have staff (normally) on the tram platforms in the city centre helping people. They'll tell you to 'miss a tram' if they know there's a quieter one just behind it. They come every five minutes so you'll be fine.

You can leave it as late as 2.30 to get a tram but I guess you'll want to get there a bit earlier to take in the atmosphere. Other than the megastore and the pubs (not suitable for a 12-year old) there's not that much immediately around Old Trafford.

There is the Lowry centre (shopping and arts centre and a few bars and restaurants) and the Imperial War Museum about ten minute walk past Old Trafford which might be worth a visit before the match. It's all built around the Manchester Docks on the watre and worth a visit. Might be better to go there than the city centre before the match and then go into Manchester afterwards for a meal for whichever evening you're staying over.

Ronaldo...all fake tan and diamond earings. Manchester United fans have mixed opinions, mainly because it appears that he (or his agent) is trying to engineer a big-money move to Real Madrid. The fool.

Anyway, he's regularly in Luso (a Portuguese restaurant) and I've seen him twice in San Carlo (an Italian). Both good restaurants if your daughter wants to stalk him fully!!!

posts: 17
2. Re: Spring Break Visit

Thanks for your help NFMac. I’ll tell the daughter where she can stalk Ronaldo, but will probably leave out the bit about the fake tan. She would be most disappointed. In her youth soccer games, she has the habit of doing unnecessary cross-overs all the way down the field in an attempt to look like her hero. Nevertheless, if he leaves ManUnited this summer, his name will not be repeated in our house unless it’s preceded by a heartfelt profanity.

We’ll actually have some time on Friday to get to the Megastore and City Centre, and I like your advice about maybe going to the War Museum on game day. With respect to the City Centre, I’ve read a bit about Sinclair’s Oyster House and the Old Wellington. Do you know if either of these places would be suitable for the family to eat lunch and mom and dad to have a few pints? My kids are fairly seasoned travelers but I don’t want to be stupid either. Any other City Center places you might recommend for a casual meal with the kids?

Thanks again.

Manchester, UK
posts: 1,667
reviews: 10
3. Re: Spring Break Visit

Sinclairs and the Old Welly are good pubs. Perfect for a family and dead near Selfridges/Marks and Spencer and the Triangle (the old Corn Exchange) for some shopping immediately before and after.

They have a big courtyard with outdoor heaters for drinking and eating outdoors. I think the Welly is a tiny bit better for food but it's pretty close.

You've probably read this already but these two are the oldest pubs in Manchester and were moved brick-by-brick after the IRA bomb.

My one complaint is that they don't have enough staff on so the tables aren't cleared enough and they serve drinks in plastic glasses.

Another good option is either Thom's Chop House or Sam's Chop House, a bit further along Cross Street. Great pubs with brilliant food. Thom's has outdoor tables at the back as well, just by St Ann's Church. Thom's would probably have the edge, in my opinion, over the other two pubs. Very easy, of course, to nip into all the pubs for a half whilst you're deciding on the look/feel of a place!

Cheshire, England
posts: 271
reviews: 33
4. Re: Spring Break Visit

For a two course lunch for £11.50, you can't beat brasserie blanc. The food is excellent and in a central location and they are good (and relaxed) with children.


Otherwise Grinch (across the way from blanc) is also excellent - happy hour 17:00 - 19:00.

There are also a few places to eat/drink at the Lowry so you could go there just before you go to OT.

The crowds will be heavy travelling there, but even worse as you come away so you may be as well to walk over to the Lowry after the match and wait for the crowds to clear - the shops are open until about 19:00, I think.

I started going to Old Trafford at about 7 years of age. Just watch your kids' faces when they emerge from the steps and see the turf for the first time - they will be a picture you will remember forever!! I still get goosebumps now - after 30 years.

I am sure the match will be fantastic. Although a Red myself I have a soft spot for BR - partic Brad Friedel as he is an excellent goalie, but let's hope he has a bad day!!

Manchester, United...
Destination Expert
for Pollenca, Port de Pollenca
posts: 3,491
reviews: 39
5. Re: Spring Break Visit

Yes do spend some time in the city centre as well, you will enjoy it. For a first visit to a game I recommend you get to the area outside the ground about an hour before kick-off so that you can walk around and soak up the atmosphere (even earlier if you want to buy momentoes in the v busy megastore). Enter the ground about 35 mins beforehand so you get to see the warm up. (I'm a member at OT and applied for tickets to that game, no success as oversubscribed and I wasn't succesful in the lottery - so any spare tickets ?). Finally I agree with the above poster - Brasserie Blanc in the city centre is a swish place, excellent food, really good value lunch or up to about 6.30 pm on the fixed price menu - I did exactly that (again) the other evening - and they're great with children.

Burnley, Lancashire
posts: 16
reviews: 12
6. Re: Spring Break Visit

The Lowery Art Gallery has a football art and world cup photography exhibition on at present. The gallery is free entry. It's worth a look.

Old Trafford run a ground tour - although not on Match day! Have a look on their website for info

Go into the town centre - great shopping, Fantasic bars and restaurants, good atmopshere especially on Match Days

Try a visit to the football museum in Preston - about 1 hours drive from Manchester (Max) - lots of hands on interactive stuff for the kids

Make sure you enjoy a tradtional meat pie at half time!

7. Re: Spring Break Visit

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